King Louie’s Shoes by D. J. Steinberg (review)
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Reviewed by
Steinberg, D. J. King Louie’s Shoes; illus. by Robert Neubecker. Beach Lane, 2017[42p]
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-2657-2 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-2658-9 $10.99
Reviewed from galleys Ad 4–7 yrs

Louis XIV of France was undeniably an important man, a great man, but according to this picture-book account, he was chagrined that he wasn’t a big man. He had a huge, high throne constructed in search of height, but when he returned to the floor he was still the same size. Tall wigs were also a temporary fix. Elevated shoes looked like a good bet, but when the dance-loving monarch fell off his heels at a ball, he worried that his courtiers would ridicule him. “But the people did [End Page 471] not laugh. They knew that because of the king, France was a proud and mighty nation,” and Louis happily danced the night away in his stockinged feet. The scent of Eau d’Aprocrypha wafts through both narrative and pictures, from Louis XIV’s preoccupation with height (at 5’4” he was just a tad shy of average), to the multicultural and -gender depiction of his staff, to the clunky 1960s style platform “dance” shoes that belie the dainty red-heeled footwear in the king’s portraiture. Source notes supporting this spin would have been welcome, but end matter does offer some kid-pleasing fast facts about the king. Despite some historical missteps, this is a sprightly gigue, enhanced by Neubecker’s humorous, hyperbolized artwork, and little kids will readily discern that, if you can’t control your physical stature, you can certainly advance your social stature.

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